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State of the Union

State of the Union: America in the 1990s, Volume 2: Social Trends

Copyright Date: 1995
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    State of the Union
    Book Description:

    "The Census is a most valuable source of information about our lives; these volumes make the story it has to tell accessible to all who want to know." -Lee Rainwater, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences

    "A lucid and balanced overview of major trends in the United States and essential reading for policymakers.State of the Unionis a reality check that provides the factual basis for policy analysis."-Peter Gottschalk, Boston College

    State of the Union: America in the 1990s is the definitive new installment to the United States Census Series, carrying forward a tradition of census-based reports on American society that began with the 1930 Census. These two volumes offer a systematic, authoritative, and concise interpretation of what the 1990 Census reveals about the American people today.

    Volume One: Economic Trendsfocuses on the schism between the wealthy and the poor that intensified in the 1980s as wages went up for highly educated persons but fell for those with less than a college degree. This gap was reflected geographically, as industries continued their migration from crumbling inner cities to booming edge cities, often leaving behind an impoverished minority population. Young male workers lost ground in the 1980s, but women made substantial strides, dramatically reducing the gender gap in earnings. The amount of family income devoted to housing rose over the decade, but while housing quality improved for wealthy, older Americans, it declined for younger, poorer families.Volume Two: Social Trendsexamines the striking changes in American families and the rapid shifts in our racial and ethnic composition. Americans are marrying much later and divorcing more often, and increasing numbers of unmarried women are giving birth. These shifts have placed a growing proportion of children at risk of poverty. In glaring contrast, the elderly were the only group to make gains in the 1980s, and are now healthier and more prosperous than ever before. The concentrated immigration of Asians and Latinos to a few states and cities created extraordinary pockets of diversity within the population.

    Throughout the 1990s, the nation will debate questions about the state of the nation and the policies that should be adopted to address changing conditions. Will continued technological change lead to even more economic polarization? Will education become an increasingly important factor in determining earnings potential? Did new immigrants stimulate the economy or take jobs away from American-born workers? Will we be able to support the rapidly growing population of older retirees?State of the Unionwill help us to answer these questions and better understand how well the nation is adapting to the pervasive social and economic transformations of our era.

    A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-197-1
    Subjects: Population Studies, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xviii)

    Censuses have been taken throughout recorded history, primarily to calculate how many men could be mobilized for battle or how much property could be taxed. The gospel of Luke tells us that Christ was born in Bethlehem because Caesar Augustus decreed that all be enrolled and taxed in their home cities. Just after invading England, the Normans carried out a census, henceforth referred to as the Domesday Book, which told them whom they conquered and where they might find tax revenue. Censuses taken in the United States serve purposes other than those of Moses or the Normans. With great ingenuity,...

  6. 1 Growing Diversity and Inequality in the American Family
    (pp. 1-46)

    Dramatic changes have occurred in the American family over the last four decades, as reflected in popular television shows. In the 1950s the typical family portrayed in most situation comedies consisted of a breadwinner-husband, a homemaker-wife, and two or more children. This “ideal” American family was depicted in such shows asFather Knows Best, Leave It to Beaver, andOzzie and Harriet. The Nelson family—Ozzie, Harriet, and their children David and Ricky—has recently received renewed fame in the press and has come to symbolize the typical American family of the 1950s. It now serves as a baseline against...

  7. 2 The Older Population
    (pp. 47-92)

    Evidence of the graying of America surrounds us. Politicians argue over the growth of old-age entitlement programs like Medicare; restaurants woo off-hour diners with senior discounts; TV weathermen beam birthday greetings to centenarians. Daily life offers a host of reminders that the older population is growing and changing. More Americans are old than ever before, and more older Americans are very old. The population aged 65 and over, growing twice as fast as the general population, was 22 percent larger in 1990 than a decade earlier.¹ This remarkable aging of the American population ranks among the most significant, long-run demographic...

  8. 3 Children and Youth: Living Arrangements and Welfare
    (pp. 93-140)

    The new realities of American family life, coupled with the changes in economic opportunities and housing described in this series, have dramatically altered the experiences of childhood and young adulthood over the past decade. The family, in its myriad forms, provides a context for bearing and rearing children, attending to their physical and emotional needs, and ensuring the next generation of well-adjusted and productive citizens (Zill 1993). But these traditional functions are now being challenged in significant ways by the current transformation of the family and shifts in the American social and economic structure. This chapter documents this process and...

  9. 4 Racial and Ethnic Diversity
    (pp. 141-210)

    Among the most important and immediately visible of trends in the past two decades has been the increasing racial and ethnic diversity of the nation’s population. America’s so-called minority populations—defined to include blacks, American Indians, Asians, and Hispanics—have grown much more rapidly than the population as a whole. This growth reflects younger age structures and higher fertility rates and, most strikingly, the increased immigration of Asians and of Hispanics.

    As a consequence, whites, who represented nearly 84 percent of the United States population in 1970, dropped to about 80 percent in 1980 and to just over 75 percent...

  10. 5 The New Immigrants
    (pp. 211-270)

    From the Colonial period to the present, and we can expect far into the future, immigration has posed persistent economic, social, and political issues for the United States. The nature of the concerns may change over time, but the issue is seldom far from America’s consciousness. Three themes emerge sharply in an analysis of immigrants in recent decades.

    The increased numbers of immigrants and an increase in the proportion foreign-born in the population, especially since 1980.

    The increased diversity among immigrants and the foreign-born population in terms of country of origin, skills, and labor market adjustment, among other characteristics.


  11. 6 The New Geography of Population Shifts: Trends Toward Balkanization
    (pp. 271-336)

    Urban growth and migration patterns continue to shift in unexpected ways and are creating sharper divisions across space. Back in the 1970s, urban scholars were baffled by the so-called rural renaissance, when rural and small communities in most parts of the country grew faster than large metropolises—reversing decades of urban concentration. Later, a broad review of that period’s reversals concluded that the 1970s were really a transition decade for U.S. population redistribution, where the “transition” referred to newsocial and economic contextsfor redistribution rather than to specific geographic patterns (Frey and Speare 1988). Since then, the geography of...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 337-356)
  13. Name Index
    (pp. 357-362)
  14. Subject Index
    (pp. 363-377)